At 7am on Sunday, December 7th, I finished Jane Eyre, after having become riveted to the emotions in the words written by Charlotte Brontë. (Upon reflection, maybe it wasn’t the best choice to try and read myself to sleep with this book at midnight, as I wound up with no sleep.)
Finally, I am getting around to writing my review of the first book to be checked off of my Before 25 Bucket List…
One of the very first things I noticed was how much it felt as if I were reading a script. Part of it was that there was so much dialogue – even if a majority was Jane Eyre’s own inner dialogue. It was also how the descriptions of the scenery and people were laid out… I could see it all so clearly, as I have been able to when reading a script prior to working on a production. And yet, it was definitely a novel. The words were well-written, and caused me to feel as if I were experiencing every emotion along with Jane as she lived her life.
As I was first getting into the book, just over a week ago, I was sitting next to Adam (who had insisted Jane Eyre be at the top of my list), and I said out loud, “What 10 and 13 year olds in the history of the world spoke to each other like this?” (I was referencing conversations between Jane and her schoolmate, Helen Burns) His response was, “Children living in England in the 1800s.”
Jane’s time as a child was interesting, but not as interesting as when she became an adult and became a governess for Adele, the ward of Mr. Rochester.
Adam, when I had started reading the book, said something about, “You’ll like Mr. Rochester.” Just from glimpses of reviews on Goodreads, that appeared to be the general consensus among readers today. The first review listed is from approximately one year ago, and it reads:
I could bang Mr. Rochester like a screen door ’till next Tuesday. That’s not all I got from this book, honestly…
Because I saw this upon first adding the book to my Before-25 Bookshelf, I expected a lot of explicit sex scenes. (In case that would be a reason for you to not read this book, you should know, I was wrong. There is no explicit sex.) Although, while reading the scene where Jane is first properly introduced to Mr. Rochester, my first thought was, “Holy crap, this is going to be similar to 50 Shades, but across the pond in the 1800s!” (Again, I was wrong. But go read Jane Eyre if you don’t know what I’m talking about. And if you still don’t understand, go read Fifty Shades of Grey – or at least find out what it’s about.)
The developing relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester was interesting. In case others haven’t read it, I won’t go into the details of their relationship, and what happens in the book. But I definitely felt a deep connection with both Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. While reading Charlotte Brontë’s novel, you learn much more about Jane, and who she is – but her way of looking at the world and the people in it, allows the reader to get to know Jane’s fellow characters, as well.
At one point, Jane is looking out over the land where Thornfield, Mr. Rochester’s estate, is located. She is restless, wanting to be around more people than just Adele, whom she was hired to teach. Her thoughts begin to really speak to me at this point. One quote in particular really struck me…
It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
-Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
You can read more of her thoughts in this direction in an expansion of the quote here. Reading that quote is the first time I felt tears forming over this book.
As I sat and read what I had left of this novel the other night, tears came even more often. I may not have been sobbing or anything as I finished the book, but my eyes were definitely leaking tears. It wasn’t a sad ending, but for me, I won’t say it was happy, either. It was a beautiful book that ended in a bittersweet fashion.
I believe this was the perfect book for me to start with for my Before-I-Turn-25 Bucket List. For anyone who hasn’t read this classic, I definitely recommend you read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
Keep an eye out for the review of the book I read next for my Before 25 Bucket List. It will be added to my Currently Reading shelf – which you can also view by looking at the “Read With Me” widget on the right hand side of this site – once I pick a book from my list.
The title of this post is taken from this quote in Jane Eyre.